ROI or MQL – Where’s your focus?

Demand Creation ‌• April 18, 2013

In reading the latest headlines and watching the trends in direct response marketing, it seems to me that the marketing world is, much to its own detriment, focused on a “More is Better” approach when it comes to Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) production.

I have talked with several marketers who have spent large amounts of capital on Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) investments and months perfecting lead scoring algorithms to end up with parades thrown in their honor because of the large number of MQLs they were able to produce.

Inevitably, however, there comes a time when the confetti falls and someone in Finance or the C-suite wants to justify and quantify all that marketing spend…and they come calling for the marketing ROI reports that show all those MQLs actually went somewhere meaningful and led to more closed business.

It reminds me of my first sales manager who said that if I only made more dials I would generate more sales. It did not take me long to realize that one had no direct correlation to the other – I learned that making the right dials produced more sales.

MAPs (in the right hands) can do wonderful things to create demand, uncover demand, and find demand – but at the end of the day, is it the right demand? Are the right people at the right accounts actually converting to the MQLs you’re proudly handing off to Sales?

Human intelligence and intervention is key to vetting MQLs as actually having the potential for ROI (more on this in our Lead Scoring whitepaper). Your cost per MQL may rise a bit, but just as my old sales manager learned, the ticker tape parades last longer when the result produced is the right result.

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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